Apr 4, 2007

god's will

What is God's will?


According to the events we remember this week, it would seem God had already made the first move in our direction to reveal that and is waiting for our response while continuing to pursue us.

"If you have ever given yourself to someone and had your heart broken, you know how God feels. If you have ever given yourself to someone and found yourself waiting for their response, exposed and vulnerable, left hanging in the balance, you know how God feels. If you have ever given yourself to someone and they responded, they reciprocated with love of their own, you know how God feels.

The cross is God's way of saying, 'I know what it's like.' The execution stake is the creator of the universe saying, 'I know how you feel.'

Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, 'God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts.'

The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.

The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, 'Me too.'"

-Rob Bell, Sex God

So perhaps God's will has something to do with simply leaning in to him and embracing the intimacy he offers. Although there are a lot of questions we have for Him, it's my experience that while He doesn't always answer them He does always offer us Himself. Since He's able to see us naked (despite the layers of emotions or baggage we hide behind), we have nothing to lose in hanging out with Him. The side benefit is that we just might see life as He does... in this way wisdom is less an answer He gives and more perspective that comes about as a result of the time spent together.

Less transactional and more relational, so to speak.

My wife and I were talking about it recently, using our marriage as a metaphor. A lot of couples believe doing all the right things will equal a healthy marriage. Others just figure it will come based on a natural chemistry they have and without all the formal effort. I think both are needed, from the benchmarks we use to keep things healthy (i.e. a regular date night) to the quality of transparent conversation we have when we talk with each other. Practically, we find ourselves able to order food for each other in restaurants, laugh at unspoken inside jokes, and finish each other's sentences.

Perhaps our relationship with God could be the same. Might that not be His will?

As we put some benchmarks out there (i.e. regular time in prayer, daily thinking on his truth, etc) we provide the framework and opportunity for some quality interaction with the Lord. Consequently, we get back to the "naked and unashamed" conversation we had back in the Garden of Eden and find ourselves able to know the kind of "tastes" Jesus enjoys, the concepts he finds "humorous," and the thoughts he thinks that we end up thinking on, too.

So maybe finding God's will is more like that... less about the "finding God's will" and more about "finding God." Pretty soon we're finishing his sentences - not the goal of the relationship, but certainly a nice benefit that keeps things fun and active.

And perhaps the conversation...

and the relationship...

start somewhere around the cross.


Brian said...

Rob Bell rocks...good stuff, Tony.

David Malouf -- said...

I like this post because it's not what I would write!

I think, though, that the irony of "Finding God's will for my life" is that it's more about "my life" than "God's will."

I think you have been here too, where I ask God "Which one" - what if He doesn't even like the options? Or even when we've been without clear, vocational direction and we ask "What do you want me to DO?!?" What if He doesn't have anything at that time?

My point is that most of what I use the phrase "God's will" for and most of what I hear it used for is really about My Life.

I like your ending (although I find it, awkwardly, destroying the Rob Bell quote - which I think is a good quote to deflate -- to Me-centered) -- Finding God. Perhaps I may add to it: Finding God while Being Him to others (i.e. being His hands).

Tony Myles said...

That's the trick of it, isn't it? Realizing that everything Jesus did on the cross was for us... but yet it was for His glory. Those two values are in tension with each other, and typically you will theologically fall on one harder than you will the other.